I went to a great workshop this evening called The Art of Remembering Names, with professional memory trainer Neil Kutzen.
He taught us a simple memorization process that has been used for millenia, where you pick a visual image to remind you of a person's name (e.g. an angel for Angela), and a memorable physical feature of the person (say, Angela's nose), and then visualize the two blending together in a creative way (for instance, a band of miniature angels flying in and around her nose). The next time you see Angela's face, you immediately remember that crazy image, and can confidently say, "Hi, Angela!"
Clearly, this process works. Neil had memorized the names of everyone in the group (using our photos on Meetup) before we even got there, and told us stories and showed us videos of people memorizing names that were truly astounding to me. But he was also very quick to point out that just learning the technique does not make you any better at actually memorizing names. If you want it to make any difference in your life, you have to practice, practice, practice. And even then, there will always be ways to improve.
The same is true for creating happiness in your life. Really, the process is simple: Notice what's happening and allow it to be there. Then focus on what you want, and do something that's consistent with your desire.
This process can be applied to any circumstance, and it can work every time. But to do it quickly in the moment, and consistently across all situations, takes a lifetime of practice and dedication.
For both of these things, I love knowing that there is an actual process that can be learned. Some people may be naturally happier than others, and some may be better at remembering names, but all of us can get better at both, if we want to.
When it comes to memorizing names, I am a total novice. I had incredible trouble tonight coming up with images to help call to mind different sounds, and had trouble noticing identifying features of faces, too. There is so much room for improvement! But now I know some specific things I can do that will help, and am motivated to try them.
I love that I don't have to have any hope of mastering memorization in order for for small changes to make a big difference.
Small changes can make a big difference for happiness, too. It could be as simple as noticing what you like and dislike, or paying attention to how you feel in different situations, or writing down some of your values and desires.
What might be the next thing for you to practice? If it's something you'd like to explore with me, please reach out!